[Windows] Share your printer with family and friends over the internet with PrinterShare (no need to be on the same network)

When connected to the same local network, it is very easy to share one printer with multiple computers an devices. However, there an issue arises when you want to share a printer with someone who isn’t on the same LAN as you. Ever wanted to share you printer with family and friends over the internet? Or maybe you want to share your printer with someone on your local network but don’t want to locally link the printer, for whatever reason. Well, thanks to PrinterShare both of these things are possible.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

PrinterShare is a program that allows you to share your home/work printer with others without having to set it up in a network. Once this program is installed, it creates a virtual copy of a printer on the client machine (the computer without a printer) that is actually attached to another computer (the host machine). This tricks your computer into thinking that you are indeed connected to a printer when you’re not. Then, when you print from the client machine, your document is sent to that virtual printer which then forwards the document to the host machine, where it is then sent to the printer.

Take note that PrinterShare must be installed on all client machines and the host machine to work.

Pros

  • Allows sharing of printers without requiring the printers, computes, and devices to be connected to the same local area network (by way of the internet)
  • Allows users to remotely print from traditional desktops and laptops plus smartphones and tablets (has iOS and Android apps)
  • No special technical knowledge needed — very easy to setup and use

Cons

  • Free version is severely limited — you can only print 20 pages if printing from desktop while you can only print 1 page from the iOS/Android apps
  • I experienced some problems when printing from an Android device
  • Requires that both the user and client computers be in operation — if one is turned off, you are SOL
  • If you print to someone’s house or office, you’re going to have to go pick it up (duh)

Discussion

PrinterShare does just what the same sounds like. The program makes it easy to share your printer with others who are not connected to the same local network as you. One of the best things about this program is how easy it is to set up. After the installation (which was painless enough) it requires no special technical knowledge to set up. Using it is just as easy for both the user and the printer owner.

Usually people download this program for one reason — to share their printer with others. Let’s say that your friend and you both have PrinterShare on your computer. Now your friend can connect to your printer through PrinterShare (or vice versa) by using the internet. Your friend’s computer will think that he is actually connected to a printer, but really it is just the PrinterShare client on your computer.

It is also worth noting that the program not only works for desktops/laptops but it allows you to print right from iPhones, iPads, or Android devices too — you just need to download the respective apps. Although this is a nice feature (assuming your phone doesn’t already have an app for that), I experienced a bit of trouble getting it to work with my Android device (myTouch Slide 4G) so I am not able to go into detail about how this works. I assume that it does worth with some phones, but it’s compatibility in this regard is not flawless.

Take note the biggest drawback to PrinterShare is that the program and apps are free but you need to pay to use PrinterShare. The “free” version of PrinterShare only allows you to print 20 pages while the Android/iOS apps limit you to 1 test page. You can pay a one-time free $4.95 for 100 pages or pay $9.95 per month for unlimited pages.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

The program does what it is supposed to do, but I feel that this is a program that not everyone is going to have a use for… especially considering the extreme costs the developer charges after 20 pages. However, if you ever find yourself needing to print something on the go, and you can swing by a friend’s house to pick up what you printed, I can see how this program will be helpful. Other than that, the ‘wow’ factor just isn’t there.

Price: Free for the first 20 pages

Version reviewed: 2.3.6

Supported OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7

Download size: 1.85MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/43

Is it portable? No, installation required

PrinterShare download page

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5 comments

  1. AFPhys

    Simply reading about the limitations of the “demo” product keep me from even considering installing it. Criminey: “print” the multiple pages of the document to a PDF, email it to the machine connected to the printer, and print. A few steps, but it works just fine, and won’t cost $120/year.

    This software is not only far too costly for the functionality it provides, the “demo” limitations themselves make it too costly to even try it out.

  2. Mr.Dave

    This might be useful for someone like me. After many days of research and reboots on two Vista PCs, we cannot print over our home network.

    We *can* however send documents through the …\Public\… folders on both PCs, and it’s also easy to send them via e-mail, so the person with the printer can print them. The sender can print to PDF first if needed. PrinterShare only saves a small piece of this headache — not worth 5 cents per page plus having more software installed.

  3. h_warriner

    I am unclear about the 20 page limitation. Is the 20 pages the limit for one installation? Or is it 20 pages per day per installation? Is the limit on the client or host side or both?

    If it is 20 per installation, that’s just a waste of my time. Bad marketing.